Samsung is readying a connected speaker, powered by its fledgling Bixby digital assistant, according to The Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

The move sees the company joining Amazon, Apple, Google and Microsoft in a race to gain ground in the home entertainment and automation space, of which the speaker has become a key bridgehead. All players are looking to use their respective digital assistants to power services across devices.

In many ways, Samsung has a strong position with which to enter the market. It is already a recognised home electronics brand, through its televisions and other products, and has efforts in the home automation space which could also be integrated with Bixby.

It also has a platform, Tizen, which could be used to power the speaker.

By integrating the various elements, using Bixby on smartphones and home speakers to control a set of consumer electronics products and white goods, Samsung would be well placed to secure a strong position in the space.

Of course, there are also challenges, not least that the launch of Bixby has been delayed after hurdles related to accuracy of English-language inputs.

According to WSJ, timings for a launch have not been confirmed, and work has been ongoing for more than a year. An earlier device was set for launch at Mobile World Congress as far back as 2015, although it was shelved due to voice recognition issues.

Samsung also has a foot in one of the other smart speaker camps: its Harman Kardon audio subsidiary is behind the Microsoft Cortana-powered Invoke device.